Statistical Package For Social Sciences Education Essay

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This chapter shall present the data gathered in the survey and interview conducted by the researcher. The quantitative results gathered undergone various statistical tests through the use of Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). The qualitative data obtained from the interviews were discussed and analysed in relation to the existing literature.

Cronbach's Alpha

Normally, the Cronbach's Alpha reliability coefficient ranges between 0-1. However, there is no actual limit for the coefficient. The closer Cronbach's alpha coefficient is to 1.0 the greater the internal consistency of the items in the scale. Based upon the formula _ = rk / [1 + (k -1)r] where k is the number of items considered and r is the mean of the inter-item correlations the size of alpha is determined by both the number of items in the scale and the mean inter-item correlations. George and Mallery (2003) provide the following rules of thumb: "_ > .9 - Excellent, _ > .8 - Good, _ > .7 - Acceptable, _ > .6 - Questionable, _ > .5 - Poor, and_ < .5 - Unacceptable".

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In the case of the obtained data, the reliability coefficient is .887 which indicates good reliability coefficient. While increasing the value of alpha is partially dependent upon the number of items in the scale, it should be noted that this has diminishing returns. It should also be noted that an alpha of .8 is probably a reasonable goal. It should also be noted that while a high value for Cronbach's alpha indicates good internal consistency of the items in the scale, it does not mean that the scale is one-dimensional. The dimensionality of the scale can be computed using the factor analysis which will be discussed in the next section.

Factor Analysis

The method followed here was to first examine the initial responses of the participants with a view to selecting a subset of characteristics that might influence further responses. Then, survey responses were analysed at the item level, using figures, tables, or text alone, to provide a first impression.

These item level responses were scrutinised for underlying patterns via factor analytic procedures (Note that all procedures reported here utilise SPSS). A prerequisite for including an item was that responses were not too badly skewed (i.e., 90% or more of responses clustered in single cell) and that more generally, the level of response to that item was not insufficient (<15-20%) to destabilise analysis. The factors identified in this fashion correspond to the primary topics or latent variables to which correspondents seem to be responding in terms of various related items.

The protocol adopted here for factor analysis was to use default settings initially (Principal Axis Factor - PAF) and to rotate the matrix of loadings to obtain orthogonal (independent) factors (Varimax rotation). The prime goal of factor analysis is to identity simple (items loadings >0.30 on only one factor) that are interpretable, assuming that items are factorable (The Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin measure of sampling adequacy tests whether the partial correlations among variables are small. Bartlett's test of sphericity tests whether the correlation matrix is an identity matrix, indicating that the factor model is inappropriate).

Once clearly defined and interpretable factors had been identified (Factor loadings =>.10 were illustrated via an included table even though only item loadings >0.30 were considered relevant to factor loadings), and responses related to these factors were saved in the form of factor scores. These Bartlett factor scores are equivalent to sub-scale or scale scores with means of zero and standard deviations of one (z-scores), and with participants credited with separate scores in relation to each identified factor.

A Principal Axis Factor (PAF) with a Varimax (orthogonal) rotation of 22 of the 24 Likert scale questions from this survey questionnaire was conducted on data gathered from 20 participants. An examination of the Kaiser-Meyer Olkin measure of sampling adequacy suggested that the sample was factorable (KMO=.698).

Descriptive Statistics

The descriptive statistics computed the mean, standard deviation, and the variance of in between components of the variable presented. Table 1 shows the summary of the said computation. The computation revealed that it has -3.439 random effects on the variables.

Table 1 - Summary of Descriptive Statistics Computation of Variables

N

Mean

Std. Deviation

Std. Error

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95% Confidence Interval for Mean

Minimum

Maximum

Between- Component Variance

Lower Bound

Upper Bound

75

3

85.00

5.292

3.055

71.86

98.14

79

89

76

2

88.50

.707

.500

82.15

94.85

88

89

77

1

89.00

.

.

.

.

89

89

78

1

82.00

.

.

.

.

82

82

79

1

87.00

.

.

.

.

87

87

80

1

89.00

.

.

.

.

89

89

82

1

94.00

.

.

.

.

94

94

83

1

88.00

.

.

.

.

88

88

84

1

90.00

.

.

.

.

90

90

85

4

87.75

.957

.479

86.23

89.27

87

89

86

1

80.00

.

.

.

.

80

80

87

4

85.75

5.965

2.983

76.26

95.24

77

90

88

1

89.00

.

.

.

.

89

89

89

4

89.25

2.062

1.031

85.97

92.53

87

92

90

3

81.67

9.074

5.239

59.13

104.21

75

92

92

1

87.00

.

.

.

.

87

87

Total

30

86.77

4.614

.842

85.04

88.49

75

94

Model

Fixed Effects

4.953

.904

84.83

88.71

Random Effects

.904a

84.84a

88.69a

-3.439

Another highlight of the descriptive statistics is the frequencies of the ratings achieved by the preschoolers. Tables 2 and 3 summarize the frequency.

Table 2 - Summary of Preschoolers Rating Frequency before Portfolio Assessment

Frequency

Percent

Valid Percent

Cumulative Percent

Valid

75

3

9.7

10.0

10.0

76

2

6.5

6.7

16.7

77

1

3.2

3.3

20.0

78

1

3.2

3.3

23.3

79

1

3.2

3.3

26.7

80

1

3.2

3.3

30.0

82

1

3.2

3.3

33.3

83

1

3.2

3.3

36.7

84

1

3.2

3.3

40.0

85

4

12.9

13.3

53.3

86

1

3.2

3.3

56.7

87

4

12.9

13.3

70.0

88

1

3.2

3.3

73.3

89

4

12.9

13.3

86.7

90

3

9.7

10.0

96.7

92

1

3.2

3.3

100.0

Total

30

96.8

100.0

Missing

System

1

3.2

Total

31

100.0

Table 4 - Summary of Preschoolers Rating Frequency after Portfolio Assessment

Frequency

Percent

Valid Percent

Cumulative Percent

Valid

75

1

3.2

3.3

3.3

77

1

3.2

3.3

6.7

78

1

3.2

3.3

10.0

79

1

3.2

3.3

13.3

80

1

3.2

3.3

16.7

82

1

3.2

3.3

20.0

87

7

22.6

23.3

43.3

88

3

9.7

10.0

53.3

89

9

29.0

30.0

83.3

90

2

6.5

6.7

90.0

92

2

6.5

6.7

96.7

94

1

3.2

3.3

100.0

Total

30

96.8

100.0

Missing

System

1

3.2

Total

31

100.0

One Way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA)

One way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) is done with the dependent variable which is the reading development of the preschoolers with the independent variable which is the portfolio assessment.

The computed F value for the scores of the preschoolers is .745 which is greater value of significance which is .711. This show a significant effect of the portfolio assessment in the increase of learning of the preschoolers based on a 0.05 level of significance.

Discussion of Questionnaires

Question 1 - What are the things that can motivate children to be interested in reading?

Based on the gathered results most of the children are motivated to be interested in reading by means of the visual graphics that accompany the materials. Also, the children are motivated based on the teaching strategy of the teachers during the lectures. Another relevant factor in the children's interest is the reward system being given if they are doing great in their respective work.

Question 2 - In your observation, approximately how long does it take for preschoolers to achieve total reading development?

Based on the results gathered, most preschoolers achieve total reading development in approximately six months. This is in close coordination of teachers as well as the parents in practicing their children. However, there are preschoolers that develop their full reading ability in about a year. Various factors affect this such as the child's interest, amount of coordination and monitoring of parents among others.

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Question 3 - Based on your experience, what is the feedback that you get from students when they are doing their portfolios?

Based on the results gathered, the common feedback that students have with regards to their portfolios is that it's very interesting and they find it very useful towards the improvement. However there are students that are finding the portfolio very difficult and finds it as a challenge.

Question 4 - What differences do you observe in the span of time of reading development activities where portfolios are involved and those that are not?

Based on the gathered results, the major difference observed in the developing activities of the students under the portfolio is that their comprehension has been improved. Also, their interest towards reading has been improved. Although there are students that doesn't seem to make a difference towards their reading attitude and habits.

Those students that are not under the portfolio did not make any difference with regards to their reading attitude and habits prior to the study.

Question 5 - Do you think the responses to these portfolios depend on the group of children that are being taught?

Based on the gathered data from the teachers, the various responses of the children on the portfolios being taught depends upon the age group of the children. This was observed by the teachers with older students that develop their interests and reading attitudes significantly. On the other hand, younger students under the portfolio doesn't seem to develop as much interest as that of the older ones.

Question 6 - Based on your professional experience, does a portfolio assessment result accurately reflect the level of reading development of a child?

Based on the results gathered from the professional experience of the teachers, the portfolio assessment can reflect the accurate level of the child's reading development. As per Chen and Martin (2000) portfolio assessment makes use of well-chosen criteria that are indicators of success. Portfolio assessment is an efficient tool for determining a student's learning level and level of improvement. Portfolio assessment also encourages student-teacher interaction and thus encourages interactive learning using diverse instructional methods. Numerous studies (Chen & Martin; Colley & Walker, 2003) demonstrated that portfolio assessment can be helpful in inducing learning, particularly in reading (Afferblach, 2007; Hillmer & Holmes, 2007).

Question 7 - Describe the extent to which you believe the use of portfolios in the classroom has improved reading instruction.

The teachers interviewed in the study believed that the extent of the improvement in the reading instruction by means of the portfolios are significant. Portfolios can provide evidence that students have met standards that a variety of teaching techniques are used in the classroom, and that students are actively engaged in learning (Damiani, 2004). Portfolios can help teachers help students realistically appraise themselves by providing specific qualitative goals and descriptors that avoid vagueness, unrealistic positive or negative self-evaluation, either-or thinking (the work is either good or bad), or perfectionism (Damiani).

Question 8 - Based on your experience, should the use of these portfolios be implemented in all schools that teach preschool children?

Based on the response of the teachers, they believe that the implementation of the use of portfolios in schools that teach preschool children is in place. Student portfolios can also serve as models for teachers to develop their own portfolios to show their professional development. A teacher's professional portfolio could include a statement of teaching philosophy; videotapes of successful classes, curriculum materials developed; course syllabi; sample lesson plans; professional development goals and objectives, professional development seminars, classes, or workshops attended; articles published; student evaluations; recognition awards or certificates; professional affiliations, and principal's and supervisor's evaluations (Attinello, Lare, & Waters, 2006).

Question 9 - What improvements can you suggest for the improvements of these portfolios?

Most of the teachers' suggestions regarding the improvement of the portfolios are the customization of the portfolios into various reading ability level. Portfolio-based assessment is one alternative to standardized assessment methods and is believed to offer more potency as an assessment method (Miholic & Moss, 2001: King, Patterson, & Stolle, 2008). While approaches involved in this method differ, they have in common compilations of the work activities of students, also known as the student portfolio (Au, Raphael, & Mooney, 2008; Berryman & Russell, 2001; Hillmer & Holmes, 2007). This collection shows the efforts exerted by students and their personal academic development and achievement. Included in the collection are indications of the participation of students in selection of contents, criteria for selection and judging merits, and substantiations of the student's self-reflection (Miholic & Moss; Hillmer & Holmes, 2007). The portfolio is intended to embody a compilation of the works or efforts by students considered as their 'best'; that is, students' personal selections of their sample work activities and important documents that pertain to achievements and progress (Lynch & Struewing, 2001; Hope, 2005).

Question 10 - What other steps or procedures do you recommend to support portfolio assessment of preschoolers?

The most common recommendation based on the teachers' responses is the portfolio should be customized depending on the level of reading ability of the students. In some approaches, teachers usually scan through the portfolio and assess the work with reference to a scoring guide. In some cases, students or their classmates would also rate their works. A learning record is then prepared by the teacher, which shows the final score with attached substantiations such as a sample essay (Lynch & Struewing, 2001; Hillmer & Holmes, 2007; Hope, 2005).

Conclusion

Chapter 4 is the presentation of the results, analysis and discussion of the data gathered from the respondents of this study. The quantitative data gathered were analysed using the statistical tests Cronbach's Alpha for reliability of the data gathered; Factor Analysis for the examination of the initial responses of the respondents; and One Way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) for the dependent and independent variables. On the other hand, the qualitative data were discussed in relation to the existing literature regarding the subject of the study.

The computed data revealed that there's a significant effect of the portfolio assessment in the increase of learning of the preschoolers based on a 0.05 level of significance.